Like Atlantis, Lemuria Is a Lost Land That Never Existed, But Became So Much Bigger

Like Atlantis, Lemuria Is a Misplaced Land That By no means Existed, However Grew to become So A lot Larger


Philip Sclater ought to have stopped writing in 1858. That’s when he revealed one of many foundational texts of biogeography, the science that research the distribution of species and ecosystems throughout house and time.

Lemur fossils in Madagascar and India

However there was one little primate that didn’t neatly match into Sclater’s division of the world into six biogeographical realms. He had discovered fossils of lemurs in each Madagascar and India, regardless that these locations belong to 2 wholly separate realms. (In immediately’s biogeographical parlance, these could be the Afrotropical and Indomalayan zones, respectively.)

So he did what different scientists of the day did when confronted with comparable disconnects: He proposed an unlimited land bridge that had as soon as linked Madagascar to India. And he gave that hypothetical continent, now swallowed by the Indian Ocean, an applicable identify: Lemuria.

That was in 1864, and ever since, Sclater’s severe scientific work has been overshadowed by his creation—as a result of Lemuria turned out to be one of many weirdest continents that by no means existed. Maybe Sclater’s creation arrived at exactly the proper time to fill a fertile area of interest within the creativeness. Two-thirds into the nineteenth century, there have been only a few actual locations left to find. The sudden addition of a whole continent to the map—by no means thoughts that it was conjectural and drowned—impressed different scientists (and different, much less scientific-minded thinkers) to develop theories about Lemuria that went properly past explaining the whereabouts of a tiny primate.

Some started proposing that people got here from the misplaced continent of Lemuria. Pradeed Doodh through Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Lemuria, the ancestral residence of humanity?

In 1870, German biologist Ernst Haeckel instructed that Lemuria could possibly be the ancestral residence of humanity, as a means of explaining “lacking hyperlinks” within the fossil document of early people. (Rejecting Darwin’s speculation of humanity’s African origin, Haeckel had initially favored India because the birthplace of humankind.)

Within the Eighteen Eighties, Lemuria graduated from scientific speculation to pseudoscientific truth when Helena Blavatsky, the founding father of theosophy, built-in it into her esoteric, proto-New Age perception system. Constructing on Haeckel’s concept, she proposed that Lemurians have been the third “root race” of humanity.

Aided by Charles W. Leadbeater, a theosophist who claimed information of Lemuria through “astral clairvoyance,” William Scott-Elliot elaborated on Blavatsky’s imaginative and prescient of Lemuria and its root races. In The Misplaced Lemuria (1904), Scott-Elliot positioned Lemuria within the Pacific, and described the Lemurians as 15 ft tall, brown-skinned, and flat-faced, with bird-like sideways imaginative and prescient. They may stroll back and forth with comparable ease and reproduced with eggs. Interbreeding with animals finally produced ape-like ancestors to among the human races.

In India, Lemuria was adopted by some Tamil nationalists and mystics as affirmation of Kumari Kandam, a legendary sunken land first talked about in Fifteenth-century Tamil literature. Tamil revivalists recognized Lemuria with this historic cradle of Tamil civilization.

The continent’s Tamil identify (that’s, Kumari Kandam) could be translated as “land of the maiden.” Some speculated that Kumari Kandam had been a matriarchal society the place ladies selected their husbands and owned all property. Kumari Kandam is one in every of a number of mentions in historic Indian texts of lands in South India misplaced to the ocean. Probably these are information of historic tsunamis and different pure disasters.

In The Misplaced Continent of Mu (1926) and subsequent books, James Churchward repurposed the parable of the misplaced continent and civilization of Lemuria, renaming it Mu and, taking a cue from Scott-Elliot, inserting it within the Pacific Ocean.

Lemurians are said to live underground in Mount Shasta, California.
Lemurians are mentioned to stay underground in Mount Shasta, California. Frank Schulenburg through Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

A jewel-encrusted underground metropolis

Within the American creativeness, Lemuria turned most intently related to Mount Shasta in northern California, which in accordance with Frederick Spence Oliver (in his 1894 ebook A Dweller on Two Planets) and different occultist writers was the final refuge of the survivors of sunken Lemuria, who lived there in a jewel-encrusted underground metropolis known as Telos.

In response to among the extra outlandish theories, different survivors of sunken Lemuria turned to the ocean, and have become whales, dolphins, and mermaids. Others have walked amongst people as shamans and prophets ever since, explaining why many religions are so comparable. Sadly, there isn’t a phrase on whether or not some Lemurians really remodeled into lemurs.

Lemuria lastly fell off the map within the Nineteen Sixties, when Alfred Wegener’s concept of plate tectonics turned broadly accepted. Tectonic exercise explains continental drift, which eliminates the necessity for hypothetical land bridges like Lemuria.

As a comfort of kinds, scientists finding out plate tectonics discovered that India and Madagascar had been a part of the identical continent within the deep previous, and never simply as soon as however twice: They have been neighbors in Mauritia, a Precambrian microcontinent (2.5 billion to 800 million years in the past), and in Gondwana, a newer supercontinent (fashioned about 510 million years in the past). India and Madagascar lastly separated about 70 million years in the past.

One man relocated Lemuria to the Pacific Ocean and renamed it Mu.
One man relocated Lemuria to the Pacific Ocean and renamed it Mu. James Churchward: Books of the Golden Age (1927) / Public area

But, Lemuria lives on

Scientific Lemuria could also be useless, however occult Lemuria lives on. The Kumari Kandam concept remained in historical past textbooks in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state till the Eighties. In 1981, the state authorities funded a documentary that attempted to reconcile the sunken continent concept with continental drift, and present Lemuria as scientifically legitimate. New maps of a sunken Tamil supercontinent nonetheless floor often, generally reaching as far south as Antarctica.

Lemuria shouldn’t be the one ingredient of the otherworldly cocktail that retains drawing folks towards Mount Shasta, however it’s not at all the least. Guests to the world often report seeing seven-foot-tall Lemurians strolling the floor in flowing white robes, supposedly on a break from their subterranean existence.

Within the feedback part of an area journal article about Lemurians, somebody mentions: “I can let you know the story of a Bay Space little one who was informed by her mother and father that if she and her sister wandered off from the automotive whereas stopping to get gasoline in Dunsmuir that the Lemurians would assume they needed to be sacrificed to the mountain and take them away.”

Lemuria additionally lives on in Ramona, a small city in Southern California and headquarters of the Lemurian Fellowship. Based in 1936, the Fellowship is a non secular group that transmits the knowledge revealed to its founder by a gaggle of Masters hailing from Mu (the Pacific model of Lemuria).

In this 1896 map, Lemuria sits in the Pacific—and many other fake continents are superimposed onto the actual continents.
On this 1896 map, Lemuria sits within the Pacific—and lots of different faux continents are superimposed onto the precise continents. William Scott-Elliot: The Story of Atlantis and Misplaced Lemuria (1930)/Public area

Reincarnation, karma, and Christ

The Lemurian Philosophy says that if we stay by common legal guidelines (together with the assumption in reincarnation, karma, and the teachings of Christ), we are going to obtain a sophisticated stage of civilization. Its guideline is steadiness: spiritually, materially, and mentally. College students who efficiently full first a correspondence course after which superior coaching might be a part of the Lemurian Order. The Order helps itself partly by the sale of arts and crafts made by its members.

Certainly one of their picket beakers is within the Museum of Fashionable Artwork in New York. That should rank excessive on the listing of bizarre penalties that Philip Sclater couldn’t have predicted when he got here up with Lemuria a century and a half in the past.

Weirder nonetheless is the truth that “Lemuria” now’s utilized by the British authorities to explain its tiny territorial holdings within the Indian Ocean. The coat of arms of the British Indian Ocean Territory (that’s, the Chagos Archipelago) has the motto: In tutela nostra Limuria, Latin for “Lemuria is in our cost.”

It turns out, though, that lemurs are only in Madagascar.
It seems, although, that lemurs are solely in Madagascar. Mathias Appel/Flickr

The stressed spirits of the unburied useless

A remaining phrase on lemurs. These lovable creatures solely exist in Madagascar. So what was Sclater speaking about? The confusion is the results of a change of definition. Again within the 1860s, the definition of lemurs additionally included the slender loris, one other tiny primate, which does exist in India (and Sri Lanka). Whereas they share some similarities, the species should not intently associated, having diverged about 70 million years in the past.

Lemurs have been named within the 1850s by Carl Linnaeus himself, the founder of the present system of organic nomenclature. Linnaeus acquired the identify from historic Rome, the place the lemures have been the stressed spirits of the unburied useless. On Might 9, 11, and 13, through the competition of Lemuria, the daddy of the family would rise at midnight to placate the lemures by casting black beans behind him. These unhappy by this nourishment could be scared off by banging bronze pots.

This text initially appeared on Massive Assume, residence of the brightest minds and largest concepts of all time. Join Massive Assume’s publication.


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